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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Why I Did It. Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

 I am not weak. I am not a glutton.  I am not lazy. I do not lack self-control, and I most certainly do not take the easy way out!  However, I have been overweight for the past 10 years; so last summer I decided I wanted to investigate weight loss surgery.  After a year's worth of investigation and preparation, last week I had a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy known as a vertical sleeve or just a sleeve.

This earlier blog post explains the surgery:

Initially, I thought I wanted to look into lap band surgery.  I fight the hunger battle constantly.  A lap band, I thought would restrict the "hunger monster" that chases me everywhere.  Upon further investigation, I found out that lap bands are no longer recommended by my bariatric surgeons.  There are too many problems with them including band slipping, scaring, dumping syndrome, among other complications.

At only five feet tall, every extra pound on me shows, but it isn't just my appearance that concerns me, it is my overall health.  Because the pounds have been creeping up recently, I now have high blood pressure.  Very high.  I would prefer not to have a cardiac incident down the road.  I have a family history of high blood pressure, and my father had open bypass surgery over ten years ago.  I was walking down the same yellow brick road.

I have tried and failed at every diet.  Why?  Not because I am lazy and lack self control, but because eventually that hunger monster wins.  Over the past two years I tried Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, HCG shots, Wheat Belly, and Atkins.  I would lose maybe five pounds over two months and give up upon capture by the hunger monster.

And yes, I exercise.  I have always been a walker.  Last year I faithfully followed the Couch to 5K program for six months, and recently I fell in love with Jazzercise.  I didn't lose a pound following diet plans and exercising.  Why?

Because I have a condition called Reactive Hypoglycemia.  When I eat carbohydrates, my body converts them into sugar and then into fat.  My blood sugar jumps if I eat say, a piece of bread, and then  immediately drops into the low category.  I have battled hypoglycemia for my entire life, but I always thought it was related to not consuming enough food at times.  I even tried to follow the eat a few small meals per day rule.  In doing that, I was really creating more fat.  Grrrr!

I don't eat fast food.  I can not even tell you the last time I set foot in a Burger King or McDonalds.  Honestly!  At worst, over the past 10 years, I have occasionally eaten an Arby's Roast Beef Sandwich or a Runza chicken sandwich while still counting my Weight Watchers points.  At home, I tend to have healthy meals.  I just needed to eat too much to not feel hungry be it real or emotional.

Heavy people are discriminated against and often ignored.  Perhaps this is just my perception, I noticed as I gained weight, my professional status declined.  I wasn't being asked to head up committees and attend conferences as I had in the past.   My students still appreciated me, but too many people think fat people are lazy, and not capable of performing at a high level professionally.  Combine that with getting older, and forget it.  It is easier to stay under the radar.

There is no doubt that bariatric surgery has many health benefits.  According to a study, paraphrased in Metro Health, Link Here following bariatric surgery, 70 percent of patients are able to resolve their high blood pressure issues and discontinue their medication.

Six months after weight loss surgery, 91 percent of patients are able to discontinue high cholesterol drugs.

More than 90 percent of Type II diabetics improve their blood sugars significantly, into the normal range, in the first month after surgery and are able to discontinue medications.

Because of the resolution of other health issues such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure, it is believed that heart health also improves significantly.  More studies need to be completed over a longer term before this is definitive.

Asthma patients find they have reduced emergency symptoms.

GERD symptoms are reduced significantly within a few days after surgery.

Arthritic conditions that prevent weight bearing exercise often improve significantly.  For every pound of weight loss, the knees have four pounds less pressure.

Weight loss surgery also improves fertility in women who are in their child bearing years.  In fact my doctors told us that women tend to be more fertile after weight loss, but they recommend avoiding pregnancy for a year after surgery as weight loss stops at that point.

Frankly, my obvious weight gain was embarrassing to me.  I recognize all of the misperceptions floating around about fat people, because I once held them myself. I have avoided pictures for years.  While even famous people are posting selfies, you don't see many on my Facebook page.

 Being heavy is tiring.  I am tired of being hungry, of people watching every bite that I put into my mouth, and of strangers checking my grocery cart as they walk by.  I am sick of fighting my weight, and others misperceptions.  I don't want to continue to fight it for the rest of my life, so I had a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy and only one week post-op, I am happy I did it.

Soon I will begin posting before and after pictures.  I did take a before picture, but I want to wait to post until I have an after to show.

Do what's best for you, but this was the best for me!


  1. Good for you! I think it's so important that you are thinking about all the long term health benefits & not just wanted to look good in a swimsuit :) I can't wait to see pictures.

  2. Geesh if I hadnt if done this the day after you I prob would now lol

  3. Thank you for posting the great content…I was looking for something like this

  4. Congrats on taking the giant leap. I don't think surgery is for everyone but you seem to have done it for all the right reasons. Looking forward to seeing the pics.

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  7. I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts..

    Choosing the best Vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery

  8. You made the best choice. Thanks for sharing your journey. Like you I went on this journey and am benefiting from the improved and slimmer life I know have. Come and visit to read about my journey. Thanks again Sandra

  9. Browse frequently asked questions about Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy here